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Book Reviews103 month to cover the thirty miles to Corinth from Shiloh, and . . . had the troops throwing up entrenchments every night" was exploded long ago. Stephen A. Douglas did not lose his hold on Southern Democrats because "he refused to tolerate secession," but for a variety of complex reasons. Hansen fails completely to understand why the War Department insisted on leaving twelve thousand men at Harpers Ferry in September, 1862. His estimate of Confederate dead, 133,821, is absurdly low. Mr. Hansen's chronology is confusing. He discusses the Dred Scott decision (1857) before the Wilmot Proviso (1846), the Crittenden Compromise ( 1860) before the Lincoln-Douglas debates ( 1858) , and the faU of Fort Sumter (April, 1861) before Lincoln's inauguration (March, 1861). To make mercifuUy short what could have been a long critique, The Civd War violates every rule of good historiography and has nothing to recommend it. Stephen E. Ambrose Louisiana State University in New Orleans Decision in Mississippi: Mississippfs Important Role in the War Between the States. By Edwin C. Bearss. (Jackson: Mississippi Commission on the War Between the States, 1962. Pp. xvi, 636. $5.95.) No one knows the complicated details of the Civd War in Mississippi better than Edwin C. Bearss, regional research historian of the National Military Park Service at Vicksburg. This capacious volume, reflecting that knowledge, is devoted mainly to Champion HiU (not Champion's Hill, he assures us) and Vicksburg, widi preliminary attention to Iuka, HoUy Springs, and other affairs, as well as a later discussion of two or three Federal raids through the Magnolia State. Such an ample storehouse of facts wiU have lasting value as a guide to the more general historians and offer entertainment to coundess future buffs. Giving the assurance of scrupulous and devoted research, Mr. Bearss tramps confidendy through a number of gripping chapters. Among the best are those dealing with Rosecrans at Iuka; Van Dorn's HoUy Springs raid and the manner in which the bold Southerner extricated his command from the cordon set up by the chagrined and baffled Grant; and die Pemberton-Grant negotiations and train of events in the surrender and transfer of the Vicksburg river fortress. Squeezed down largely from the Official Records, the battle stories stiU bulge with such minutiae that, except for the dedicated student, they may be regarded as exasperatingly overloaded with smaU-unit clashes. The author is not to be criticized unduly on this score, for battie literature no longer has the broad strokes of a Tolstoy, a Victor Hugo, or a Sir Edward Creasy. Perhaps no present-day writer has fuUy mastered the perplexing technique of relating the events of a complicated engagement so as to preserve the high drama of the regimental and brigade actions and at the same time inform the layman of just what happened and where and when. A choice 104CIVIL WA R HISTORY must be made between satisfying die ravenous appetite of the initiated buffs for details, or inveigling the newcomer and attracting a wider popular following . Author Bearss looks toward the buff. The account of Champion HiU overcomes one with die amount of information crammed into the rapid-moving paragraphs, but some readers are likely to be perplexed by being shifted widiout warning from side to side. The author ends one often-repeated legend. He establishes that Grant did not, as historians aver and as the general contended in his Memoirs, cut free from his base and subsist his army off the lean Mississippi countryside in the Jackson-Champion HiU campaign. Bearss shows that large, heavily-guarded supply trains followed Grant toward Jackson on four different days from Grand Gulf on die Mississippi River. The secondary title is scarcely appropriate, for to cover the role of Mississippi in the war one would have to travel with Lee to Gettysburg, Bragg to Perryville and Chickamauga, and to scores of other far-off fields where famed Mississippi units fought in the forefront. With die stricdy Mississippi campaigns the book is highly selective. While Iuka is described lengdidy and interestingly, the companion battle of Corinth is dismissed in a line. No effort is made to analyze Grant's personal conduct in die Iuka campaign, nor...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 103-105
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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